We wrote a previous article entitled “5 Important Ways to Pray.” This article has the exact same purpose: to encourage you in your prayer life, such that you would grow in your desire to pray.
To that end, here are five more important ways to pray!
Jesus set special time aside to be alone with his Heavenly Father. Luke 5:16 tells us that “he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”
In Luke 5:12-16, the passage before we read this comment, we find Jesus incredibly busy with ministry. He was healing those with leprosy by touching them. Masses of people were coming to hear him and to be healed (v. 15).
What would you do in this situation? We’d tell you what we’d do: we’d heal as many as we could, teach as much as we could, and then run back home, lock our doors, and go to sleep.
Jesus could’ve said, “There’s ministry to be done. I can’t give my time to anything else.” But he didn’t. He went to pray.
Maybe you—like us—tend to want to set prayer aside for ministry. Maybe you’ve set it aside for so long you don’t even realize you’ve abandoned prayer!
Jesus didn’t do this. Jesus “would withdraw to pray.” Could that be said about you? Is it your habit to have regular times of prayer?
If Jesus, the Son of God, needed to put his ministry aside for prayer, we certainly need to, also.
Do you know that prayer actually requires that we be wise? Wisdom demands that we pray most urgently for that which is urgent!
What does this look like practically? What sort of things would be wise to pray for?
- It’s more important that your pride gets killed than a good grade on a test.
- It’s more important that your tendency to gossip turns into a love for your neighbor than Aunt Maude’s dental appointment.
- It’s more important that you love Jesus than that you live a comfortable life.
When he was in prison, the apostle Paul was always requesting things like this in Colossians. Here’s what he asked the Colossian church to pray for: “At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:3-4 ESV).
Notice that he didn’t ask them to pray that he be released from prison!
Pray like Paul. Pray big prayers about eternal issues. Pray prayers that only a big God can answer! Those are the kinds of prayers that God is honored to answer.
Because Jesus is the greatest treasure—not money, success, good grades, popularity, relationships, or health—the wisest prayer we can pray is that our God would open the eyes of our hearts, and we would savor Jesus.
What injustices are going on in the world? What is wrong with the world?
- God’s name is profaned everywhere.
- There is suffering and death all over the world.
- People turn away from God in their suffering.
What injustices are going on in you? What is wrong with you?
- My passion for Jesus is very dim.
- My love for others, compared to God’s love for them, is way too small.
- I’m bitter, angry, lustful, discontent, and all kinds of other sins.
There are two reasons a person might not pray: Either they accept the fallen world as it is (which is foolish) or they believe that God can’t do anything to fix it (which is ignorant).
Praying regularly helps us to remember two things: First, there’s something wrong with everything around us—and inside of us! Second, God has the power to change our world and us.
Rebel against the way things are, in your own soul and all around you, by repeatedly asking God to act and change your heart and your world.
What was happening before the revival of Pentecost when God poured out his Spirit on Jesus’ followers (Acts 2)? The Christians were praying together!
Acts 1:14 tells us, “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” In the next chapter, they continue to pray together (Acts 2:42).
The early church enjoyed a communal prayer life. Paul told the Colossian church to continue praying together (Colossians 4:2). Paul said there would be great blessings through the “prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:11).
Powerful prayer happens in community. Pray with your church family, your family, and your friends.
In Revelation 7, John sees a vision of the throne of God and “the Lamb,” Jesus Christ. He sees a great multitude from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, and they are praising God and the Lamb for salvation.
God is going to accomplish this vision through his people’s prayers. As our prayers stimulate Spirit-empowered, gospel-centered ministry, God will gather his chosen people, from every nation, home.
What if you prayed for some unknown country and God used it to save that whole nation? What if your prayer was the prayer that God answered to send the gospel to a whole city? Who knows, maybe an entire nation will be revolutionized because you decided to pray globally.
Desiring to Pray
We all struggle to have a consistent desire for prayer. But if you never have a desire to fellowship with Christ in prayer, ask yourself today, Do I really know Jesus? Do I really love him? Do I know what he has done for me? (2 Corinthians 13:5; Luke 7:47).
The faith that unites us to Christ and his righteousness is the same faith that will stimulate our desire to pray.
Take a minute to talk to God about your prayer-life. Ask God to change you, and to give you the desire to pray to him in these ways.